Liontas-Warren receives education award

Photo courtesy of Katherine Liontas-Warren

Photo courtesy of Katherine Liontas-Warren

Kaley Patterson
A&E Editor

Cameron’s slogan, “Every Student, Every Story,” resonates within undergraduates and graduates, but behind them are professors who hope to influence their pupils’ stories. Professor of Art Katherine Liontas-Warren is one of them.

Warren was recently honored by the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Awards as the recipient of the Arts in Education Award. Chair of the Art Department Edna McMillan nominated Warren.

The Governor’s Arts Awards has occurred annually since 1975 and recognizes individuals who and organizations that have impacted the arts within their communities or throughout the state. The Arts in Education Award recognizes those whose leadership and service in the arts have benefited youths and education.

Warren ventured to Cameron University 30 years ago after attaining her Master of Fine Arts from Texas Tech University. Since 1984, Warren has gushed about her experiences at Cameron.

“I love teaching at Cameron,” Warren said.

After graduating from Texas Tech, Warren wasn’t ready to leave the southwest or Lubbock. She served as a temporary instructor, but her alma matter didn’t hire their graduates, so Warren applied to multiple schools in the southwest. At that time, Cameron was in need of a print making and drawing teacher, particularly someone who was a lithographer – Warren fit the bill.

Photo courtesy of Katherine Liontas-Warren

Photo courtesy of Katherine Liontas-Warren

“It was a visiting artist position, not even an instructor,” Warren said, “so that meant I was only going to be here for a year. Before my year was up, my chairmen at the time said they wanted me to stay for another three years. And I said, ‘Okay, I would love to stay for another three years.’

“And of course, you know, I stayed forever, which I am very happy that I did. I have a great department, great faculty members, excellent students – I’m really happy here.”

Warren developed into an artist at a young age, drawing stones and shells off the coast of New Haven, Conn., but she became an educator by accident.

“When I went to Texas Tech, they gave me a TA position and said, ‘You’re going to teach [the] drawing one [course],” Warren said. “And I looked at them like, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘Okay.’ But I found that I absolutely loved it, I really did.”

In undergraduate school, Warren thought she would dabble into becoming an educator, but her mind was focused on being an artist first.

“When they gave me those classes to teach I was really scared,” Warren said. “I was 22-years-old, and they were going to give me these two classes to teach, and I was going to have students that were almost my age.”

Warren’s first experience teaching was difficult for her, but she learned and grew from it, and today, Warren continues to develop her teaching methods.

“When I was younger,” Warren said, “even when I came here, the most important thing for me was to be a really, really good teacher. But now, as I progress after 30 years, the most important thing to me now is that my students learn. That’s the most important thing.”

Each one of her classes is taught differently, Warren explains, but her enthusiasm and care for her students doesn’t change.

“I’m not the kind of teacher who does the same thing each time,” Warren said. “I really react to what they [students] do, maybe sometimes too much. I just get really excited. I really love what I do…I am very passionate.”

On Dec. 4 at the Oklahoma State Capitol, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin will present Warren her Arts In Education Award.

“I didn’t really expect it,” Warren said. “It’s a great honor. To live in Oklahoma for 30 years and to have that honor bestowed upon you, wow… I really feel like I’m a part of Oklahoma now.”


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